With today’s economy and high unemployment, your talent for saving money on household items is becoming essential. And while you can slash premium cable channels, cut services like yard landscaping and reduce utility bill, you can’t avoid some necessities like purchasing groceries. However, you can reduce its cost.
Would you believe us if we told you it’s possible to save more than 90% on your grocery shopping? It will take drastic measures which most people will find extreme, but in the end it will all be worth it.
But before we get into extreme couponing, let’s learn about different types of couponers, so that you can assess the category you fit into and learn how to save even more money.
1. Casual Couponers – Most people belong to this category, saving money with coupons. They manage to save a few bucks here and there and don’t plan to save money. If they see a coupon, they’ll use it. But if not, they’ll pay the full price. They don’t know when groceries will be on sale and they basically go shopping when they need household items. Needless to say that their savings are minimal.
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2. Generic Brand Store Shoppers – A lot of people fall into this category. They realize that they’ll pay less if they avoid buying the name brand and stick to generic brands. By choosing generic brands, people easily save about $250 every month without using coupons. And even though this strategy is great, most people prefer the name brand as it tastes better.
3. Coupon Shoppers – People in this category know that they can save more money on brand stuff if they purchase it at the right time in the right place. Once the items are on sale, coupon shoppers grab the opportunity and combine a manufacturer’s coupon with a store sale and get items for 10% of their original price. Therefore, by waiting for sales and utilizing coupons, they save significantly more money compared to buying generic items.
On average, coupon shoppers save 70%-90% on everything they buy, simply by following two essential rules: buy only when the item is on sale and combine coupons with the sale.
However, this approach requires extra effort. You have to find coupons, clip them and organize in one place. In addition, you have to be patient and sometimes wait for a few days or even a week for the item to go on sale. And not to mention that you definitely have to know the couponing terminology and abbreviations.
4. Extreme Couponers – Extreme couponers know pretty much every trick in the book to save money. For example, they know that a store coupon can be stacked with a manufacturer’s coupon. They also know when you can use 2 coupons on a BOGO (buy 1 get 1) sale.
They basically do everything like coupon shoppers, but they put an extra effort to find multiple deals. They purchase several copies of Sunday newspapers to get more coupons of the same item. Simply put, they do bulk shopping.
When the deal is right (when an item is on sale and they can stack coupons) and they can save more than 90% on a product, they buy in bulk. With this approach, extreme couponers save an enormous amount of money.
So now that you are familiar with the categories, you need to figure out where you belong and whether it’s worth your time to start saving more than 90% on all items you purchase.
If your answer is affirmative, then it’s time to learn grocery shopping tips that will help you get started.
5 Grocery Shopping Tips From Extreme Couponers
1. Collecting Coupons
If you want to become an extreme couponer and save a lot of money, then you’ll definitely need many coupons. However, there’s no reason to go out of control. Instead, you should focus on getting many copies of the same coupon, so that you can do bulk shopping for an item that’s already on sale. You should see coupons as currencies, as they replace actual money.
Here are the best places to look for coupons:
Sunday Newspaper – Local ads and coupon inserts are the first place to start looking for coupons. You should look for titles like Red Plum, Proctor & Gamble and Smart Source. We recommend getting at least 3-5 copies of Sunday newspapers to acquire more coupons.
Online – Today, the internet is the number one source for collecting coupons, but you are already aware of that as you came to our website – a one-stop coupon resource where you can find great coupons and amazing deals with only a few clicks. We are curating the best deals for extreme couponers and people who love saving money. All you have to do is click on the coupon and print it.
Grocery stores – When it comes to grocery shopping tips, you should definitely take advantage of in-store coupons and check out aisles that blink and share coupons, or the stack of “tear here” coupons. In addition, you should look for free coupon booklets.
Manufacturers – Manufacturers usually have multiple coupons for their products. You can get them by visiting their website or you can simply send them an email and ask for coupons. Today’s manufacturers are doing everything they possibly can to attract more customers, so there is a good chance you’ll get great coupons that will help you save money.
To get a more detailed list of the best places to find coupons, check our “Where Can I Find Coupons” guide.
2. Organize Your Coupons
To tell you the truth, organization is the key to being a successful couponer. Without it, you are simply going to fail. Having many coupons and no storing strategy is going to be overwhelming and difficult, and that’s the main reason people give up.
To prevent this from happening, it’s important to start storing your coupons properly. There are different options available, but we recommend the two most popular methods: file box and coupon binder.
In this guide we won’t get into details regarding these two methods as we already explained them in our previous guide, “5 Easiest Ways to Get Started Couponing Quickly”. Therefore, we strongly recommend reading that guide as well.
3. Grocery Shopping
Once you step into the world of extreme couponing, we recommend going for one deal to get comfortable with the entire process. Once you get used to it, you can go for bigger deals whenever something is on sale.
But for your first extreme couponing deal, you should:
Watch the Sale Ads – Always read the grocery store’s weekly ad to learn what’s on sale that particular week. If you notice something that you consider a great sale and you need that item, then check whether you already have coupons for that item. If not, then research and try to find the coupon.
Once you acquire the coupon, do your math and see whether the new (discounted) price is good enough to pursue this deal. If you think it is, get as many coupons as possible and do bulk shopping of that item. However, always be careful when you are purchasing perishable items, as some of them can’t be properly stored and won’t last long.
You should also be on a lookout for BOGO deals, as they are a great way to save money because you can stack a coupon and pay less. For example, if the store is having a BOGO deal on your favorite cereal priced at $1 each, and you have a coupon for $0.6 off, then you’ll get two cereals for only $0.4.
Know your limits – Once you start looking for sales you should always figure out whether the final price is good enough for you to pursue the deal. And as you become familiar with couponing you’ll know which price points you can beat and the ones you won’t ever find. For example, you should never pay for deodorant, toothpaste, body wash, shampoo or razors as you can find coupons to reduce the price down to nothing.
Learn the Store Policy – Knowing coupon policy of every store where you make your purchase is essential for saving money. Every grocery chain has a different policy when it comes to coupons, so you should always know:
- Can you use coupons with BOGO sale?
- Are you allowed to stack coupons (use both store’s and manufacturer’s coupon on one item)
- Do they have discounts for veterans, seniors or students?
- Do they double the value of coupons?
- Is there a limit on how many coupons they will double?
- Is there a limit on the amount of the doubled coupon?
In addition to knowing the coupon policy, you should check it out from time to time as these grocery chains are known for changing their policy frequently. Moreover, their cashiers are often unaware of new policy changes, so it’s up to you to know your rights and claim them.
4. Learn to Storage Items
With extreme couponing comes bulk shopping, which simply means you’ll have to stockpile items quickly and you’ll need bigger storage space. Space management and storage organization are the two skills you’ll definitely need to develop, and therefore we’ve decided to share with you useful tips that will speed up this process. You should:
- Make room in your kitchen cabinets – Throw away everything you don’t need, including old appliances and expired items.
- Get a deep freezer – Every extreme couponer has a chest freezer for storing perishable items.
- Add shelves – As you’ll need a lot more storage space and investing in a storage room is not an option for most of us, you’ll have to learn to work with space you already have. Therefore, it’s wise to add shelves in your garage or even the kitchen.
- Put the items where you need them – Cereals go into the kitchen, toilet paper in the bathroom closet, hand soap and dishwasher under the sink and excess items in the garage.
- Pay attention to the expiration date – Expiration date should be on your mind before purchasing an item. If you can’t use it before it expires, then you are wasting money. With that being said, place the items with the closest expiration dates in the front and use them first.
Things to avoid:
- Large stockpile – If you can’t store it, don’t buy it. So if you have to fill up your living space just to store items, then you need to rethink your purchasing strategy.
- Bulk shopping of perishable items – The most common mistake when it comes to bulk shopping is purchasing perishable items that you can’t store and use later. For example, there’s no point of purchasing 100 bottles of olive oil as their shelf life is 6 months. So before purchasing anything in bulk, make sure to know its shelf life and whether or not you can store it properly and use it later.
If you are new to couponing, then make sure to avoid making the most common mistakes made by new couponers.
5. Use a Tracking Software
If you really want to be an extreme couponer you should start using tracking software. The tracking software sends notifications about deals in your local zip code – the ones you won’t be able to find online. We recommend using Coupon Sense as it’s cheap (only $3.75 per week) and really pays off.
With Coupon Sense you’ll simply log into your account and create your virtual shopping list. You should enter all items you normally would purchase, and based on your criteria and location the software will find only the deals you need – it won’t spam you with the deals that are completely irrelevant for you.
And the best part – you have a free trial for one month. So we strongly suggest to use this free trial and see whether this is something that will contribute to saving money.
With the current financial climate, we believe that saving money is becoming a necessity for most people. And when we think about saving money, we don’t mean cutting back on something or reusing items again and again.
Instead, we are referring to saving money with coupons. By applying the above-mentioned tips, you can significantly reduce your grocery shopping budget. Just make sure to find as many coupons as possible, wait for items to go on sale and prepare storage space for bulk shopping. With the extreme couponing strategy, you will start paying less than 10% of the original price.